Welcome to our final link roundup of 2016! This week’s stories include Battlefield 1 from a vet’s perspective, meditation through gaming and a lot more.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting the Battlefield campaign to be so thought-provoking. After all, the new Call of Duty has abandoned any pretense of realism, setting its campaign in a dystopian far future. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with pure entertainment – I’ve long been a Call of Duty fan and love space operas like Mass Effect and Halo – but Call of Duty’s catchphrase “There’s a soldier in all of us” has always rubbed me the wrong way. At least the Battlefield 1 story reminds players that real soldiers don’t benefit from power armor or respawn points.”
Over at Gamers With Jobs, a veteran reflects on how Battlefield 1 tells stories that feel more real than most war games.
“If you game because it’s fun, because it offers stress relief, or whatever reason you choose, you should make sure that same joy is there for anyone who might want to experience it. No one–you, me, anyone–can “own” that experience. If any of us become even accidental gatekeepers, we are doing something wrong. “Othering” people puts walls between the things we love to do and the people who might love to do it.”
Tabletop gaming can be a powerful source of happiness, social connection, and hope — so as this Geek & Sundry article points out, it’s important that we make sure everyone feels welcome at the table.
“It’s this transparency and openness that makes the community feel welcoming. There is a softness, a kindness, a sincerity, that you don’t see often in the churn of the games industry at large. Being an indie developer is incredibly hard work. A lot of teams meet and collaborate online, often living thousands of miles apart, so their work is carried out through late night Skype calls and Google hangouts; they conduct hundreds of long-distance relationships with players and other developers through social media streams; they have to manage and juggle time zones as well as any international stock trader. So when an event takes place, it can often be more like family reunion than a showcase. Developers hug each other tight because they don’t know when they’ll next see each other.”
Writing for The Guardian, Kate Gray looks back at a year spent in indie communities and some of the gentle, personal games to anticipate for next year.
“Nerd culture, on the other hand, was all about the declaration. Even from a distance of thirty years, it looks courageous. The Society of Creative Anachronism (sca), a group dedicated to pre-seventeenth-century dress-up, was part of the opening movement. My brother and his friend invented characters, cadged regalia, made burlap clothing, and, in awful, contrived English accents, uttered what they imagined were feudal-era phrases. I recall that Tom was some sort of adventurer; I do not recall his sca name. But for a time, one of his friends, Mark, adopted his own character’s name, Hywl—as, one supposes, an expression of proud Welsh heritage. They had all read Terry Pratchett, and Tolkien’s Middle-earth corpus was their Holy Writ. When these squeaky-voiced boys pretended to be Boromir and Gimli—son of Glóin—it would have taken a mother’s love not to be embarrassed for them. God, they were gorgeous.”
The Walrus has a lovely piece about how D&D and nerd culture helped one gay young man get through difficult years growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.
“Connecting the dots between gaming, meditation, and flow has led to gamified meditation training apps. It can be easy to dismiss these apps as they’re not as “spiritual” as meditating on the grass by the sea with a guru, nor are they as fun as crushing candy on the train to work. They don’t fit our perception of gaming or our perception of meditation—but the thing is, they work.”
ABZÛ, No Man Sky and many other games that help us get into flow states can also help us learn the basics of meditation, as explained in this article in Quartz.
And with that, we’re off. We’ll be back next week with It’s Dangerous to Stream Alone, our annual holiday fundraiser. We hope you’ll join us!
However you plan to spend the holiday weekend, we wish you a good one. If family events have you worried, you may want to take a look at these strategies from one of our experts . We believe in you. You can do it! And next week, we’ll all decompress together while streaming some excellent games. Until then, take care of yourselves — and each other.